Adam Kelno has made it to England in the days following World War II. Having escaped from a death camp in Nazi Europe, he finds that his identification with anti-communists in Poland has made him a target of the Soviet Government, which brings up war crime charges against him in England. When the witness is unable to identify him as one of the doctors who castrated him, he is released. Kelno takes his wife and young son to Arabia where he labors for years upgrading public health standards. Upon his return to England he is Knighted. Twenty years have passed and he has just begun to enjoy his life of renown when a book is published that names him as a willing participant to Nazi medical experiments on Jews in the camps. He sues for defamation and finds that not only can he not escape his past, but that the plaintiff a defamation case has his own reputation on trial. QB VII refers to the courtroom in which the trial is held, Queen's Bench, Room 7. Written by
John Vogel <firstname.lastname@example.org>
The lives of two men, vastly different in their beliefs and in their lifestyles, come head to head in this sprawling mini-series, the first, in fact, of the "television events" that had their heyday in the 1970's and early 1980's. This one was based on a novel by (and real life event in the life of) Leon Uris. Hopkins plays a doctor and former concentration camp prisoner who, while in captivity, was compelled to aid the Nazis in operations related to their horrific human experiments. He is briefly charged with willing compliance in war atrocities, but is found innocent. He then takes his wife (Caron) and baby boy to Kuwait where he works tirelessly to make a difference in the world of the less fortunate. Eventually, he is knighted for his efforts. Meanwhile, Gazzara plays an American Jew who volunteers in the RAF and is gunned down. He courts his nurse (Mills), eventually marrying her, and becomes a celebrated writer. Before long, he is a jaded, wealthy hack who cheats on Mills and lives at odds with his heritage. Eventually, though, he finds that he is compelled to write about the Holocaust and when he does, his reference to Hopkins in the book sparks a libel suit from the now-decorated doctor. The climax of the film is a tense and agonizing court trial at Queen's Bench Seven (hence, the title) as Gazzara tries to prove that Hopkins is guilty while Hopkins strives to keep his name clean. This film set the pace for all mini-series to come (until budgets and tastes changed in the 1990's) and contains many of the characteristics which would mark the format (episodic story arcs, endless star cameos, dubious age make-up, etc...) The story takes a looonnng time to pick up speed with sporadically interesting periods done in by the common (at the time) practice of setting each scene with excruciating shots of buildings, cars pulling up, characters walking to buildings, etc... while Jerry Goldsmith's "Exodus"-flavored score blares and a hopelessly campy narrator butts in. There is, however, some good location work throughout. Fortunately, once the pre-history of the men is finally established, the courtroom scenes make up for the tedium and soapiness of the early sections. Hopkins is wonderful. He invests the character with a wealth of expression and mystery, especially as the case wears on. Gazzara is often wooden, but comes across nicely several times. Caron gets very little to do except fret under layers of age make-up and a grey wig. Mills won an Emmy for her sensitive, appealing work. The film gets a huge shot of class and talent from the excellent Remick (though her role peters out as the film continues) and from the appearances of several renowned British character actors, notably Quayle and Evans. It's a memorable mini-series due to the striking nature of the case, it's place in TV history and the work of Hopkins and a few others. Some of the sequences alluded to and shown are just as unsettling and horrifying in today's "seen-it-all" world as they must have been in 1974, with the tour of the actual camp and the visit to a Holocaust memorial particularly vivid (even if the same cheesy narrator of the mini-series is used, with an accent, to narrate the memorial's documentary!!) Many viewers will be put off by the pace of the scenes in the mid-section, but those who stick with it will find value in the courtroom climax.
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